Oct. 11, Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle B. Readings:
1) Wisdom 7:7-11
2) Hebrews 4:12-13
Gospel) Mark 10:17-30 or Mark 10:17-27
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
Throughout the 15 years I’ve been visiting a rural community in Haiti with my parish twinning program, I’ve witnessed among the people a fundamental awareness that everything and anything they have is a gift from God.
They are so poor that they take nothing for granted other than that it’s granted by God. Whatever it is — the day’s portion of rice, their house, a child, a pretty singing voice, a day without sickness — they believe it came straight from the Father’s generosity.
Moreover, knowing that a generous God provides for them, they respond with generosity as well. For instance, more than once I’ve been invited into someone’s home and served a grapefruit or banana that would’ve been part of the family’s next meager meal.
In my own community, we have so much material wealth, comfort and resources of every kind that we often lose that sense of God’s providence. We forget these resources didn’t become ours without divine involvement.
We who live in a culture that oversells self-reliance and measures the good life based on wealth can easily overlook God’s hand at work, which can lead to forgetting God altogether.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus shows that he knows this too well when he tells his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God.”
Why? Because rich people think they’re already in heaven. In a wealth-based world, what more could one want?
As followers of Jesus, we know there’s more to God’s kingdom. There’s love, compassion, sacrifice for another and the deep happiness those things bring. However, such possibility often is lost on those who have many possessions until, like the young man in the Gospel, they come face to face with Jesus, who embodies those promises.
The poor understand God is all-giving. God, who gives the rice and the rain, also gives the loving family. The poor are more focused on the giver than the gift, so that’s where they long to be — in the giving.
Jesus’ instruction to the rich young man tells all of us to look beyond our possessions to find his kingdom: “Sell what you have, and give to the poor … then come, follow me.”
What are the good things in your life that you take for granted? How can changing your attitude about your “riches” — material and other — help you share them and follow Jesus more closely?